Mommy Guilt is a very real thing. We moms feel guilty about everything when it comes to our kids: how much TV they watch, what they ate, how they were disciplined, and my least favorite, did I spend enough quality time with them that day? At the end of some days I think back to the day and wonder if I even played with the kids at all. I know that I was in the same house or on the same playground with them, but did I actually spend any time with each child? Did I look them in the eye and do an activity that meant something to each child? Did each child feel loved or special at some point during the day? It is amazing that I can spend twelve hours with the same three people, but not actually spend any “quality time” with them. It seems like this would be such an absurd thing to wonder, but it is not. If there was only one child each day, I don’t think that I would even contemplate this question. Having three means that they entertain themselves most of the time. I am there to make sure that no one gets hurt and that nothing gets broken. Having three also means that I clean more, cook more, do more dishes, and referee more. While the kids are playing and tearing up the house, I typically do my chores and if we are at the playground then I get to chat with a girlfriend while the kids play. I am still with the kids, but not WITH the kids. Make sense?
I have finally found a way to assuage some of my guilt about not spending quality time with each kid each day. I have come to the realization that what each child really needs, and I need, is fifteen minutes of time together. I get to spend fifteen minutes of one-on-one time with each child doing whatever it is that they choose to do. The kids don’t know that I am doing this, but I think that it makes me feel better and it gives them some special time during the day with mom. It may sound kind of weak that I am only spending a total of 45 minutes of quality time with my kids each day, but I can’t even start feeling guilty about that! Some days are better, some days are worse and somedays I am a rockstar mom that can have fun with all three at the same time and be fully engaged in whatever it is that we are doing. However, if I am not having a “rockstar mom” day, then fifteen minutes is just what we all need.
Here are some examples 15 minutes of fun with mom:
-I played the Ladybug Game with Wilson on Saturday.
-I played the “rainstorm” game with Miller this morning.
-I let Faith braid my hair over and over again the other night before bed.
-I played on the playground with Miller on Saturday.
-I read with Wilson before bed last night and then told him stories.
Those are all of the examples that I can come up with right now, but it is a work in progress. I don’t beat myself up when it doesn’t happen each and every day, but I think that it is something to be aware of and aim for. I love my children and think that they are fun and sweet individuals. I want to enjoy my time with them collectively and individually. Collectively is what happens during the twelve hours a day that we are together. Individually is what we get in fifteen minute intervals throughout the day. Honestly, I think that this is an accomplishable goal and something that will go a long way in the life of our family.